There are, actually, quite a lot of people like myself who enjoy photographing trains. There aren’t as many, however, who know what they’re doing. Then, there’s a rather exclusive group of people who use strobes to light trains at night. Popularized by a man by the name of O. Winston Link, using flash to light a moving train can be an interesting challenge. With a static subject, you can get a pretty good idea at what your lights are doing. In this case, however, you have to sort of guess and hope for the best. I won’t even go into the difficulty of framing a subject that isn’t there yet! I failed to be successful with seven trains between two nights, but just before 11 pm on last Sunday night, train P84 rolled through and I nailed it!
This past weekend, the PhotoPlus Expo was held in New York, NY. Many of the people from the photo department at my school attended, and we had a great time. Besides the expo, though, we wanted to explore New York. There weren’t really a whole lot of rules, so we just got together with our favorite people and had some fun. Being a fan of trains, many of my images were taken in and around the subways. I tried this time, however, to incorporate the human element of railroading. After all, that’s what the subways are for.
For a long time, I’ve enjoyed hanging around the railroad tracks just watching trains go by. I grew up doing it, and it kind of just stuck with me. I knew that I had nothing important to do today, so I decided to use my free time to get back to what I love. The light this morning was lovely, and I returned to a location that I used to really enjoy, but hadn’t been to in quite some time. While standing around waiting, I met a nice old man who lived nearby. I had my scanner turned on to listen to the train crews talk, and the man I met said he remembered listening to airplane communications years ago. I caught five trains in the couple of hours that I was trackside, and this is my favorite shot from the set:
Norfolk Southern train 128 passes Southern Film Extruders, Inc. just moments before meeting train 218 on its way north through High Point, North Carolina on October 18, 2013.